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Archive for ‘Cheese’

11 Practical Tips for Cheese Pairings

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017
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Our Sommeliers Vanessa Simmons & Debbie Trenholm was contacted by Laura Brehaut of Postmedia to offer their top cheese & wine pairing tips.  We snipped out the 11 Practical Tips for Cheese Pairings from this article that oozed with great info to share from Debbie & Vanessa as well as other leading Canadian cheese supporters.  Click here for the full article on Postmedia web site.

 

Tip #1 – What to look for…

“With any kind of pairing, you’re looking for balance. You’re looking for harmony in your mouth… You’re looking to make one or both sides of the pairing better,” says Jesse Vallins, Complex Cheese Pairings instructor at George Brown College and executive chef at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Tavern. “You can follow the rules and what experts say (but) at the end of the day, listen to your own mouth.”

 

Tip #2 – Consider intensity…

Vallins offers the example of Le Riopelle de l’Isle – “a big, rich, buttery, triple cream cheese” – made by Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues in Quebec. If you were to pair it with a light-bodied wine, the nuances in the beverage would be lost. Likewise, pairing buffalo mozzarella or ricotta with a bold red would “totally obliterate the flavour” of the fresh cheese.

 

Tip #3 – How much cheese should you buy?

For a tasting of five or more cheeses, buy 30 – 60 grams (1 – 2 oz) of each cheese per person. Round up if your guests are cheese lovers, or if you’re serving fewer cheeses. Round down if you’re serving other dishes, or presenting more cheeses.

 

Tip #4 – What temperature should it be?

Serve cheese at room temperature. Vanessa Simmons recommends taking the cheese out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before guests arrive. As you’re taking the cheese out, put your white and sparkling wines in the fridge to chill, Savvy Company’s lead Sommelier Debbie Trenholm says. While most reds will be stored and served at room temperature, she prefers to chill her Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

Tip #5 – Start with a tasting pour: (30-60 mL/1-2 oz).

“A variety of wine goes a long way. Not every bit of cheese has to have a swig of wine. They should be enjoyed on their own separately and then played together to discover that taste,” Trenholm explains.

 

Tip #6 – “Red wine and cheese is a bit of a fallacy” Vallins says.

“It doesn’t actually work that well and it really shocks a lot of people.” As a rule of thumb, he suggests experimenting with dessert, fortified, sparkling, and off-dry white wines instead. “It’s a lot easier to make a great pairing than it is with reds. To me, the whole phrase ‘wine and cheese’ comes from sweet, sparkling and fortified wine.”

 

Tip #7- Use a separate knife for each cheese.

This will prevent the muddying of flavours. Additionally, make sure that each knife can stand up to actually cutting the cheeses it’s partnered with, especially with firmer varieties, Simmons says.

 

Tip #8 – What order do you go in?

Basic principles of progression apply, whether composing vertical or horizontal flights, or a spectrum of styles: young to old; mild to strong; and blues are always last.

 

Tip #9 – It’s a cheese faux pas to cut the “nose”

The very tip of a wedge of cheese represents the heart of the wheel. It has a very different character than the rest of the cheese and is definitely worth sharing. If you’re cutting from a wedge, slice off the side and be sure to take the accompanying bit of rind, too. If it’s a wheel, cut a slice from centre to rind as you would a piece of cake (if it’s a soft cheese, don’t scoop out the centre).

 

Tip #10 – When do you eat the rind?

If the rind is made of wax, don’t eat it, Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons of Savvy Company suggests. Otherwise the choice is entirely up to the eater.

 

Tip #11 – How should you wrap leftovers?

Simmons recommends only buying what you need: “What’s good this week may not be great next week. It’s more like a ‘just in time’ type of experience.” If you do have leftovers, use cheese, parchment or wax paper, or a reusable product like Abeego. Avoid plastic wrap. You can also put wrapped cheese in a plastic bag or resealable container for a few days. Or better yet, make fromage fort – a French spread made by blending leftover cheeses, wine, garlic and seasonings (see Jacques Pépin’s recipe on food52.com).

 

This wine and cheese pairing, as well as the Top 11 list, appeared in Postmedia newspapers across Canada on April 4, 2017.

Click read the online version on Postmedia web site 

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Fabulous Fromages from Quebec

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
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This month’s Savvy Cool Curds, the only cheese-of- the-month club in the country dedicated to featuring hard-to-come- by lovingly handcrafted Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses celebrates SUMMER with Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde. For backyard BBQs, cottage country, lake living, patio parties, regional road trips or lazy hazy beach days, #CdnCheese is the easiest, effortless, “whey” to snack, feast or entertain this summer. Grab some good friends, pick a place, crack open a local craft brew, artisan wine or cider and kick back with your Savvy Cool Curds. As temperatures soar, who wants to work any harder than that?

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Very special and hard-to- find artisan cheeses including:
La Galette de La Table Ronde 250g
Le Fou du Roy 200g
Le Ménestrel 200g
Fleuron 200g
…and a box of savoury treats from Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.

 

Looking for more fabulous Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde Cheese?

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!). Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

A road trip almost ten years ago lead me to Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde in the Laurentians of Quebec, while I was exploring the famous Routes des Fromages fins du Quebec. All this time later, I return regularly as one of my must stops along the way to Montreal, along with a few neighbouring cheesemakers because of the awesome cheese, and the warm hospitality I always receive from owners France Dion and Ronald Alary (in photo below).

It’s an all out family business at the Fromagerie, as a 4 th generation dairy farm, dating back pre-1950’s, with Holstein (and a few Jersey) cows and in 2003, the cheese factory. And today they have an abundance of popular products that can be found across Quebec and in Ontario, while others are only available locally at the shop. If you visit, the fragrant aroma of fresh cheese and milk will immediately strike you as you walk in the door. I highly recommend soft cheeses Le Nymph and La Courtisan and, of course, their flagship all mushroomy all the time Rassembleu. France and Ronald have a special touch with soft and semi-soft cheeses.

All For One

The name Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde (the cheesemakers of the round table) stems from a family gathering, akin to that back in medieval times of the Knights of the Round Table. The Alarys were seated at a big round family table and discussing ways to viably keep their children involved in the farm and family business (and making money) and thus a Fromagerie where fine organic cheeses could be made was born.  All of the cheese names since relate back to that theme.

Rassembleu is the idea of gathering around a table and the others are for key roles held at court way back when. All of them are quirky but fitting, given the cheese, and the history of their makers. All the cheese production and aging happens on the property. One aging room houses over $100,000 worth of cheese at any given time! Ronald also has a partnership with neighbouring cheese house Fromagerie Fuoco for production of their mouth-watering buffalo milk products.

Committed to Organic

Long before cheesemaking the Alary family had been committed to organic as dairy farmers. Certified organic as of 1999, the same holds true today. Only the fresh, organic milk from their farm is used in their cheesemaking. A traditional process combined with modern day technology allows them to meet the rigorous standards of Quebec Vrai official certification, while producing their fine cheese and being committed to local. “Canadians want Canadian cheese” says Ronald. “They want to know where their food comes from and they will seek it out”. No pesticides or chemicals are used on the property, animals are hormone-free and a special ten-metre barrier separates their farm from neighbouring acreage.

Ronald and family are expanding their horizons, always experimenting. They expect growth in the cheese factory with some renovations over the coming years and a perhaps a new cheese on the block in the future, something much more bold and incredibly robust than any of their current products but we can’t say more than that! Stay tuned for more, or visit them this summer and ask about the secret! Savvy Cool Curds subscribers are always welcome for a tour!

 

~ Cheese Tasting Notes ~

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes and photos for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

La Galette de la Table Ronde

La Galette de la Table Ronde is an award-winning fan favourite from this cheesemaker. Aged less than a month before distribution, these small, beautiful wheels are enjoyed best at 4-6 weeks as they begin to relax & become ripe/runny.

Tasting Notes: Galette is a pasteurized organic cow’s milk cheese with a delicate soft, bloomy washed rind. Find it rich and creamy, sexy and sinful, especially if you keep it for an extra week! Enjoy lots of mushroomy with a little tang on the finish.

Suggested Pairing: Perfect for two to enjoy on your next picnic with fresh raspberries/blueberries/figs, local honey, topped with fresh market jam or hot pepper jelly on baguette or seed crackers. Pop the cork on a chilled Viognier or Pinot Gris and you’ll be sure to impress!

 

Le Fou du Roy

Keeping along the theme of ancient times, Le Fou du Roy (translated to the King’s Jester) is finalist in a
number of cheese awards and one of La Table Ronde’s most consistently perfect cheeses.

Tasting Notes: Le Fou du Roy is a semi-soft, washed-rind, farmstead, organic cow’s milk and truly a “stinky cheese”. It’s a gorgeous little wheel of just more than a kilo, with a perfect, apricot rind and golden paste interior. Aromas and flavors abound of butter, fresh hay, roasted nuts, and toast.

Suggested Pairing: Grilled artisan sausages (like Seed to Sausage Apple Sage, Caramelized Onion/Peppers or Maple Walnut) come to mind as a perfect partner for Le Fou du Roy. When almost cooked, split down the middle, line with Le Fou du Roy & your fave fixings & crack open a local seasonal microbrew, something hoppy, toasty or nutty.

 

Le Ménestrel

Ménestrel is one of La Table Ronde’s newest cheeses, named after medieval singing musicians. It’s made only occasionally during winter and spring months and ramp up production into end of summer/fall for the following winter/spring. Each wheel is an approximate 6-7 kg of cheesy goodness, aged for 9 months or more. Watch for special releases at Christmas time of reserved 1 or 2-year wheels at the cheese factory. A must for the cheese lover on your list as flavors become more intense over
time. Caseus D’Or (Gold) winner in 2015; this means out of all the cheeses judged, in all the categories it took top prize

Tasting Notes: Ménestrel is a washed rind cheese that has been pressed and cooked, made with pasteurized organic milk from Holstein cows. It has a pale straw to copper colour rind with a smooth paste, which tastes of butter, cream, nut and dried grass.

Suggested Pairing: Ménestrel is a great snacking cheese, perfect for picnics & shared with great company. Enjoy with a local IPA or medium red wine. Pair with nuts, fruit, and locally sliced charcuterie for an easy peasy cheese board!

 

Fleuron

More intense that its sister cheese, Rassembleu, Fleuron is a unique true Quebec bleu cheese as named for its origin region and made artisan-style, aged two to four months. Named a finalist in the Blue Cheese category at this year’s Caseus Quebec Cheese Awards.

Tasting Notes:  A natural grey/white rustic rind covers this tall cylindrical elegant organic cow’s milk blue cheese, hiding a pale ivory paste with slate-grey veining, concentrated closer to the center of the cheese. Earthy, woody & fungal aromas blend nicely with vegetal, creamy & slight salty flavors.

Suggested Pairing: Fleuron is soft and oozy, for summer enjoy with fresh ripe strawberries or cantaloupe drizzled with local honey, or as a surprise stuffing centre to home made burgers. Pair with bubbles such as Lighthall Progression or a Prince Edward County cider, such as Clafeld Smashed Apple Cider.

~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

With La Galette de la Table Ronde…
La Galette de la Table Ronde Smoked Salmon Bites

Adopted Recipe & Photo Credit: recettesdici.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 x 225 g (8 oz.) cheese – La Galette de la Table Ronde
24 rice crackers
4 ¼ oz. smoked salmon
2 tsp. mixture of roasted plain and black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. honey

Method

Cut the cheese into 24 small wedges.
Sprinkle sesame seeds one side of each wedge.
Place the rice crackers on a serving tray.
Spread the smoked salmon on the crackers. Add a wedge of cheese, seed side up.
Sprinkle all with more sesame seeds and drizzle honey over the entire plate.

With Le Fou du Roy…
Fou du Roy Bread

Recipe & Photo Credit: fromagiersdelatableronde.com
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 eggs
125 mL (½ cup) milk
30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil
180 g (¾ cup) flour
5 mL (1 tsp.) baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
200 g (7 oz.) Le Fou du Roy cheese, shredded
90 g (cup) smoked turkey, chopped

Method

Beat the eggs, milk and olive oil.
Add flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cheese. The mixture should be as homogeneous as possible.
Crumble in the smoked turkey.
Preheat oven to 200 ° C (400 ° F).
Butter a bread pan and pour in the mixture. Cook for 40 minutes.

 

With Le Ménestrel…
Eggs Benedictine a Le Ménestrel

Recipe & Photo Credit: fromagiersdelatableronde.com
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

15 ml (1 tablespoon) white vinegar
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 English muffins, halved
4 small slices of cooked ham
water for boiling eggs

Cheese sauce:
30 ml (2 tbsp.) butter
30 ml (2 tbsp.) flour
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) warm milk
Salt and pepper
80 ml (cup) Le Ménestrel cheese

Method

Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Combine flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring, over medium heat. Add hot
milk, salt and pepper, whisking. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring. Stir in cheese and cook for 2 to 3
minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil water, vinegar and salt. Lower the heat and simmer.

In a small container, break the eggs and put them gently, one by one, in hot water. Cook for 3 to 4
minutes. Remove the eggs with a holed spatula. Set aside/keep warm.

Roast the English half-muffins and arrange them in two plates. Cover with a little cheese sauce.

Spread a slice of ham and a poached egg on each half-muffin. Cover with sauce. Serve with fresh fruit or small roasted potatoes.

 

With Fleuron…
Blue Cheese Apple Salad

Recipe & Photo Credit: Plaisirs Gourmets
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

2 large apples cut into bite-size pieces
2 large handfuls of toasted nuts – hazelnuts or walnuts
1 tsp. mayonnaise & 1 tsp. yogurt, mixed
1 piece of Rassembleu (substitute Fleuron)
cut into small dice (approximately 75 g)

Method

Mix just before serving.

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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The #1 question we get asked…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, June 16th, 2017
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Can you buy BC or NS wines?  Yes. You. Can.  Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White Taste & Buy event that we are hosting in Ottawa to kick off Canada150 & Ottawa2017 celebrations is all about ordering wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia…then have them delivered directly to you to enjoy all summer long.

Join us on Thurs June 22 to sample & order the 100+ wines (listed below)…or order online (we are creating the online order form as we speak!).  Advance Tickets only – click here to buy yours >>

Don’t miss it!  Celebrate Red & White 

Corks will be popping at this all-Canadian Taste & Buy as we celebrate winemakers who have worked hard to put our country on the world wine map! Meet these Canadian wine rockstars, taste their wines that are WOWing the world…then order your favs to enjoy at home.

Featured British Columbia Wineries…

Nobel Ridge Vineyard and Winery

‘The One’ Sparkling $40.00

2013 Reserve Chardonnay $30.00

2014 Reserve Pinot Noir $30.00

2014 Reserve Meritage $35.00

 

Sperling Vineyards  

2015 Speritz $22.00

2010 Sparkling Brut $42.00

2016 Pinot Gris $19.00

2015 Market White $19.00

2015 Chardonnay $30.00

2013 Old Vines Riesling $35.00

2015 Natural Amber Pinot Gris $30.00

2015 Pinot Noir Rosé $19.00

2015 Pinot Noir $26.00

2015 Old Vines Foch $32.00

 

Featured Ontario Wineries…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery  

2016 Embrace Sparkling Riesling $19.95

2016 Melon de Bourgogne $20.95

2016 Cabernet Franc Rosé $17.95

2013 Cabernet Franc $18.95

 

Huff Estates

2016 Pinot Gris $22.00

2014 South Bay Chardonnay $30.00

2016 Rosé $19.00

2014 Pinot Noir Reserve $35.00

 

Karlo Estates

2013 Three Witches $20.00

2015 Niagara Peninsula Riesling $22.00

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon $29.00

2014 Van Alstine Red $39.00

 

Keint-He Winery & Vineyards

2015 Voyageur Gewürztraminer $20.00

2015 Voyageur Riesling $20.00

2014 Portage Chardonnay $25.00

2014 Portage Pinot Noir $30.00

 

Legends Estates Winery

Love Potion Sparkling Rosé $15.95

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve $16.95

2015 Reserve Pinot Gris Rosé $17.95

2012 Merlot Reserve $21.95

2012 Malbec Reserve $23.95
 

Reif Estate Winery  

Sparkling Chardonnay $24.95

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $29.95

 

The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.  

2016 Pinot Grigio $17.95

2015 Betty’s Blend $17.95

2015 Viognier $24.95

2016 Rosé $17.95

2015 Pinot Noir $24.95

 

Trail Estate Winery  

2015 Vintner’s Weiss $19.95

2015 Wild F, Unfiltered Chardonnay $32.00

2016 Field Blend  $32.00 (NEW Reg $35)

2016 Gewürztraminer $35.00 (NEW Reg $38)

2015 Unfiltered Cab Franc $44.00

 

Two Sisters Vineyards

2016 Sauvignon Blanc $34.00

2016 ‘Old Vines’ Unoaked Chardonnay $39.00

2012 Estate Red $28.00 (Savvy Special)

2013 Cabernet Franc $49.00

 

Vieni Estates  

Sparkling Cider $11.95 (Reg $13.95)

Momenti Sparkling $13.95

Canada 150 Red Sparkling $15.95 (Reg $16.95)

2016 Gewurztraminer $17.95 (Reg $19.95)

2013 Red Trillium Ripasso $16.95

2012 Appassimento Private Reserve $69.95

2012 Appassimento 6 bottles @$59.95 each

 

Westcott Vineyards

2016 Violette Sparking Brut $25.95

2016 Estate Chardonnay $25.95

2014 Lenko Old Vines Chardonnay $32.95

2016 Temperance Red Blend $19.95

2013 Estate Pinot Noir $30.00

 

Featured Ontario Distillery…

Kinsip House of Fine Spirits

Still’s Whisper Vodka $39.95

Juniper’s Wit Gin $39.95

Duck Island Rum $63.95

Du Bois Maple Whisky $35.96

Crimson Rye $68.95

 

Featured Quebec Winery…

Vignoble CARONE Wines  

2016 VERITÀ White, $18.00

2015 VERITÀ Rosé, $18.00

 

Featured Nova Scotia Wineries….

Gaspereau Vineyards

Lucie Kuhlmann $21.99

 

Jost Vineyards

Selkie Frizzante $19.99

Selkie Rosé Frizzante $19.99

Tidal Bay $19.99

 

Place your order at Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White Taste and Buy
OR
contact the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for the URL to order online

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No black sheep here! 100% creamy sheep milk cheese

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
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Spring has sprung …and hopefully you will feel the same sunny vibe when you open this month’s parcel of Savvy Cool Curds.  Bright colour cheeses & bundles of delicious-ness are there, waiting to be enjoyed.  This month, we shine the spotlight (or should I say ray of sunshine) on Best BAA Diary located in the small town of Fergus, Ontario.

Best Baa Dairy is a family run business that makes stunning cheese with local sheep milk. Not only do they make artisan cheese, their yogurt and ice cream is fantastic too…and it’s 100% sheep’s milk!  “The days are long but this tremendous family effort is rewarded by happy consumers of our delicious sheep milk products”, says Nicole Bzikot, the dairy’s second-generation owner.

 

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… these rare artisan cheese beauties:

Feta
Eweda Cru
Sheep in the Meadow
Ramembert
Mouton Rouge

 

Nicole and Peter – like Elisabeth and Eric before them – fundamentally believe that the viability, as well as sustainability, of the family farm is the backbone of rural communities.  Nicole and Peter continue the family mantra and are committed to the Five Freedoms of farming practiced by farming communities in the UK:

Freedom from hunger and thirst.
Freedom from fear and disease.
Freedom from discomfort.
Freedom from pain and injury.
Freedom to express natural, normal behaviour.

By providing the herd with these five freedoms, they tend to be healthier and the need for medication rare.

 

Special gift from us!

In your package this month you’ll find a little something extra from Savvy Company.  Our marketing wizard, Karen, let me in on a wonderful product she recently discovered; an all natural and reusable food wrap made from beeswax!  This Canadian invention keeps cheese much fresher and longer than plastic wrap can.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!  Learn how to use and care for the wrap at abeego.com.

Enjoy your cheese!

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds?  If we have extra chunks of cheese, you are welcome to it. Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you.  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing….
20 Questions with Nicole Bzikot

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

We’ve finally left winter behind, and we are ‘lighten-ing’ it up on these pages too.  Time to try something different to keep things fun & to dig a bit deeper and get some interesting ‘dirt’ (sorry for that corny pun) on the dynamic people behind the cheeses that we send you.   Not only are they great cheesemakers, they are incredibly interesting people with neat stories to tell about how they got into cheese biz!

So,  let’s pose some questions and put Nicole on the “Savvy Hot Seat”, shall we?

Current Job:
My husband Peter and I are the owner operators.  Peter’s parents started the biz & in January they retired. Honestly though, everyone does a bit of everything!

It’s Wine O’clock. What wine & cheese combo would you like right this minute?
My go-to is the Mouton Rouge, yet it needs a robust red to go with it and with the sun pouring into the cheese shop, I am thinking more along the lines of Rose wine right now.  So that definitely would be best with the Ramembert.

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The funny thing is that my background is in textile art.  I met Peter when I bought cheese at the St Laurence Market.  Interestingly, I was selling art supplies and hand made craft items at the time. I never EVER dreamed that I would be living on a farm. The craft part of me stays true as we are crafting cheese here.

What is in a name?
Around here, product names are often highly debated. We take the approach of using silly Sheep-related puns to make memorable.

What is it about cheese that got you hooked?
Cheese can be political, romantic, and when you travel there is always different types to try.

What lead you down the path to becoming the cheesemaker you are today:
Cheesemaker wasn’t my dream job, but now I realize that I love eating cheese and it is such meaningful work .  It is definitely physical work, I use my hands to create.  The best part is that our customers write regularly to thank you for the products we make.  That fills my soul.

Is there music playing in the cheesemaking facility right now?
Absolutely.  We mix it up all the time.  We have satellite radio and usually we listen to the channel called Spectrum.  It plays a mix of the 70s-80s-90s.

Favorite thing about the local cheese industry:
I love the fact that we know the people & family behind the milk we purchase.  It provides a significant income that allows them to stay on their family farm.

Favorite thing about making cheese:
By the end of the day you have a product that people need & want to keep them healthy. Something tangible.

What is the unglamorous thing about cheesemaking?
I find it funny that anyone thinks this is glamourous. Everyday we wear something just short of being called PJs & a hairnet.

Why did you choose yellow and green wax for your cheeses?
They are happy colours. Green = grass. Yellow = sunshine.

Industry Mentors:
We are humbled by what the cheese that is coming out of Quebec. While we grow, we are always trying to raise our own standards.

What wine region do you want to visit next?
Italy. But honestly, it is hard to get away.

One surprising thing that I’m really good at:
I have always enjoyed leadership through comraderie.  In addition to Peter and I, there are 8 people on staff.  They are all local (not relatives!).  The interesting thing is that we are all friends outside of work too.

When is your birthday (no year required!):
March 22 – and wouldn’t you know it…my Zodiac symbol is a ram!   

My Birthday “Favorite Meal”
That is easy….spaghetti.  Or fresh lobster, but that is hard to come by here in Fergus.

A funny moment you remember about visitors coming to the cheese shop:
People are shocked when they meet me after chatting on the phone or online.  I am 6 feet tall & have a young face.  I usually get “you can’t possibly be the owner….you are too young!”

What does you daughter think?
She is 9 years old and is very proud of what we do.  She stamps the bags or is on the front line ready to offer samples at Farmers Market. I think she might like to be a shepherdess, like her grandmother.

 

 

~ Cheese Tasting Notes ~

Typically, Vanessa offers her tasting notes…but for this issue we are mixing it up a bit and have asked Nicole to share her thoughts on the special cheeses in this month’s Savvy Cool Curds.

 

Feta

This traditional Greek style feta is made from pasteurized and raw sheep milk.  The flavour in both versions is tangy and full, with hints of lemon.  The flavour is more abundant in the raw milk version with greater nutritional value preserved (cheese speak: flavour loss through pasteurization).

It takes upwards of 3 weeks to make this feta, then it is packaged in brine made from the whey.  This delicious cheese can stand on its own or enhance your favourite dish.

 

Eweda Cru

Beginning with a traditional gouda recipe, this raw milk cheese is aged for a minimum of 9 months.  Each wheel is marked with information pertaining to the producer of the milk used.

Each round of this semi-hard cheese weighs approx. 3 kgs.  Why is the wax green?  To represent the grass.  Cut inside and you will find the paste (cheese speak: the cheese) is pale yellow with many small holes.  The texture is slightly crumbly yet smooth on the tongue.  Its rich, earthy aroma leads beautifully towards an explosive, complex flavour.

When savoured, Eweda Cru is nutty at first, then grassy with a lingering finale of creamy freshness.

 

Mouton Rouge

It’s playful name; this firm cheese is mild yet pleasing, and full of surprises.

The reddish tinged rind encases a pale, creamy yellow paste, dotted with small holes.  The aroma is fresh and grassy.  The nutty rind contrasts beautifully with the mild, slightly buttery inner paste.  A lingering creaminess remains on the palette.  Made in rounds of 1 to 3 kgs that have aged for upwards of 60 days.

 

Ramembert

Get it?  This cheese is Best BAA’s version of Camembert.  “We love using puns for our product names…it makes you remember them better” says Nicole, laughing at her own joke.

This small, bloom ripened cheese, has an exterior that is fluffy and white, concealing an ivory white interior.  The paste is creamy and smooth with an earthy, mushroomy aroma.  The cheese is at its best when the sides yield easily to pressure.  Then the cheese oozes goodness!  Store in the fridge when ripe and serve with a crisp baguette, a few grapes and any bold red wine.

 

Sheep in the Meadow

This lactic cheese has a bloomy rind sprinkled with Herbes de Provence from France. Rosemary and thyme dominate the aroma while mushroomy undertones also are noticed.  Close to the rind, the texture is creamy, and you will find it increasingly firm towards the centre.  Luxuriously smooth, the creamy paste is imbued by the herbs.

It is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in its early, fresh cheese stage or in its later ripened state.  Savour it your way!

Photo credits: GuelphToday.com

 

 

 ~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

Asparagus Eweda Tart

from Martha Stewart’s kitchen

 

Ingredients

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Eweda cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

 

 

Lamb and Feta Chili

From Nicole & Peter’s Kitchen – Best Baa Dairy
TIP: This makes a BIG batch to feed a hungry crowd or to store in your freezer for a quick an easy meal later!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
250 grams of fresh Feta cheese
1 medium yellow pepper
1 medium red pepper
1 kg of ground lamb
3  16 oz. cans of tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Brown the ground lamb in a large pot.  Salt and pepper the meat while it is cooking.  Drain the lamb and set it aside in a second, medium size pot.  Saute the onions, garlic and peppers in the same pot used for browning the meat (without cleaning it!)  If there isn’t sufficient fat left in the pot, you may want to use a little olive oil.

Return the lamb to the large pot.  Add the tomato sauce and chili powder.  Cook on medium heat for approximately one and a half hours.

Serve up the chili in your favourite bowls and garnish with a few spoonfuls of the fresh sheep milk cheese curd or sheep milk creme fraiche.

Enjoy!

 

 

Curry Potato and Cheese Patties

From Nicole & Peter’s Kitchen- Best Baa Dairy

Ingredients

8 medium potatoes, peeled
1 cup of Eweda Cru cheese, grated
1 egg
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons of curry powder
½ cup of flour

 

Directions

Boil potatoes till tender.  Mash and cool.  Add egg, cheese, onion and salt. Form mixture into golf ball sized balls.

In separate bowl, mix flour and curry powder.  Roll potato balls in flour mixture.

Over medium heat, press in frying pan with olive oil and fry until lightly browned.  Add more grated cheese on top if desired and serve!

 

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Less than 80 tickets left! Got yours?

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
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It is happening next week – Prince Edward County is coming to Ottawa! Over 150 bottles of hard-to-find wines, craft beers, ciders & artisanal spirits will be open for you to taste…and buy. None of these gems are at the LCBO.

County in the Capital is a discovery & tasting experience like no other. You’ll sip & savour new bevvies, meet the makers…then order your favorites to be delivered to your doorstep. It’s the SAVVY way to shop.

Promo Held Over!
Buy a ticket + get one for FREE

Great for a date night  OR  round up a bunch of friends.
You don’t want to miss having all of Prince Edward County under one roof

Look who is coming…

401 Cider Brewery * Barley Days Brewery * Casa-Dea Estates Winery * Clafeld Fruit Winery & Cider House * County Cider Company * Devils Wishbone Winery * Half Moon Bay Winery * Huff Estates Winery * Karlo Estates Winery * Keint-He Winery & Vineyards * Kinsip House of Fine Spirits (formerly 66 Gilead) * Lacey Estates * Lighthall Vineyards * Stanners Vineyard * The Grange * Trail Estates Winery * Traynor Family Vineyard * Waupoos Estates

 

Click here for a list of everything you can Try & Buy >>
TIP: You won’t find ANY of these bevvies at the LCBO

 

Gourmet Goodies too!

Discover got-to-have products & artisan creations by: Abeego * Emerson Pringle Carpentry * Fifth Town Artisan Cheese * La Fromagerie les Folies Bergeres * Lighthall Dairy * Prince Edward County Hot Sauce

 

Travel tips

And to top it all off, County in the Capital is your chance to get the ‘inside scoop’ on top things to do & places to visit from Prince Edward County Tourism.

 

Event Deets

DATE: Thursday, April 20
COOL VENUE! Horticulture Building (in the Lansdowne Complex near TD Place)
V.I.T. RECEPTION: 5 to 7pm – V.I.T. Passes required
MAIN TASTING EVENT: 7 to 9pm

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY
$80 per person + bring a friend for FREE
A group of 4 for $150

Prices include absolutely everything – all samples, a Savvy tasting glass & good ol’ HST

 

Be a V.I.T.

A Very Important Taster! For an additional $25 upgrade your ticket & get a V.I.T. Pass to enjoy red carpet treatment & advance access from 5 to 7pm, then stay as long as you like for the main event.

Click to get your tickets >>
This event will sell out soon…

Order your favorites! Shipping is FREE.

EVERYTHING featured at County in the Capital is not at the LCBO.

It is easy & hassle free to order – exactly like ordering from Amazon or an online store. Create your order as you taste the bevvies at the event or order online afterwards. Order 6 or more bottles of ANY combo of your favorite bevvies & we’ll deliver to your home or office – FREE.

 

Can’t make it but want to order?

Call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to place your order & get FREE shipping. Deadline for all orders: April 23 @ midnight.

Next Event: A concert like NO other!

We are excited to announce our involvement in bringing one of Canada’s finest musicians – Chantal Kreviazuk – to Ottawa for a special concert on Friday May 26.

Sponsored by Deloitte, this new event is part of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend & Ottawa 2017.

Only 300 tickets for this VIP concert featuring a world renown Canadian artist that includes canapes & Canadian wine all night long. After the show, Chantal will open the floor for an interactive chat about performing on the world stage.

To top it all off, you’ll be in the company of former Governor General Michaelle Jean & her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond.

Get your tickets to this one-of-a-kind concert >>

 

Always great things going on at Savvy Company!
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO
 (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
#CountyintheCapital
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

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SOLDOUT! County in the Capital

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
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County in the Capital is happening again on Thursday April 20, 2017.  It is another sellout event.  This year there is even MORE neat bevvies to try…and buy. 150+ wines, craft beers, ciders & spirits too.  And of course there will be artisan cheese & treats too!

Below is the list of bevvies that will be available for you to sip & sample.  These gems are not at the LCBO, so this evening is designed to try as many as you like…then order those you want to enjoy at home.  Just like ordering from Amazon or your favorite online shop, you can have bottles delivered to your home or office.

Order in person by attending County in the Capital where you can meet the makers OR order online (until April 23rd) from us.

CLICK TO ORDER ONLINE>>

County in the Capital is so popular that every year we host the event in a bigger space…yet we always sell out!  It’s a special occasion to have all of Prince Edward County under 1 roof AND to have them all in Ottawa.

 

 

Look what bevvies will be available to Taste & Buy:

Casa-Dea Estates Winery

2016 Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling $20.95

2016 Pinot Gris $18.95

2013 Cabernet Franc $18.95

2013 Pinot Noir Reserve $21.95

Devils Wishbone Winery

2016 Wicked White $19.00

2016 Pinot Gris Rosé $22.00

2014 Cabernet Franc $25.00

2014 Pinot Noir $29.00

Half Moon Bay Winery

2014 Riesling $16.00

2013 Merlot $24.00

Huff Estates – last month’s featured winery in our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club

2016 Pinot Gris $22.00

2016 Riesling Off Dry $20.00

2016 Rosé $19.00

2014 Pinot Noir Reserve $35.00

2014 South Bay Merlot $40.00

Karlo Estates – this month’s featured winery in our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club

2013 Three Witches $20.00

2015 Niagara Peninsula Riesling $22.00

2013 Chardonnay $25.00

2015 Patio Reserve Rosé $18.00

2013 Triumvirate $28.00

2015 Pinot Noir $35.00

2014 Van Alstine Red (fortified) $39.00

Keint-He Winery & Vineyards

2015 Voyageur Gewürztraminer $20.00

2015 Voyageur Riesling $20.00

2014 Portage Chardonnay $25.00

2014 Greer Road Chardonnay $35.00

2014 Portage Pinot Noir $30.00

2012 Queenston Road Pinot Noir $30.00

Lacey Estates Winery

2015 Riesling Off-Dry $19.95

2013 Gewurztraminer Off-Dry $19.95

2015 Pinot Noir $25.00

2012 Cabernet Franc $32.00

2012 Dorland Reserve $32.00

2012 Cabernet Franc Magnum 1.5 L $60.00

2012 Dorland Reserve Magnum 1.5 L $60.00

Lighthall Vineyards

Progression Sparkling $20.00

Fence Sparkling Rosé $25.00

2016 Riesling $25.00

Stanners Vineyard

2014 Riesling $23.00

2015 Chardonnay PEC $30.00

2014 Pinot Noir PEC $30.00

2014 Barrel Select Pinot Noir PEC $39.00

The Grange of Prince Edward

2014 Select Riesling $21.95

2013 Estate Chardonnay $21.95

2013 Select Gamay Noir $22.95

2013 Select Cabernet Franc $24.95

Trail Estate Winery

2015 Sauvignon Blanc $26.00

2015 Wild-Ferment Riesling $28.00

2015 Barrel Ferment Riesling $28.00

2014 Barrel Ferment Chardonnay $32.00

2015 Unfiltered Chardonnay (pre-release) $32.00

2013 Cabernet2 $39.00

2014 Cabernet2 $39.00

Traynor Family Vineyard

2015 Sauvignon Blanc $25.00

2014 Chardonnay $25.00

2015 Baco Noir $25.00

Madonna Vermouth $35.00

Waupoos Estates Winery

2015 Honeysuckle $12.95

2015 White Rabbit $14.95

2013 Pink Rabbit $14.95

2015 Red Rabbit $16.95

2015 Baco Noir $21.95

 

And there will be craft beers & ciders too!

401 Cider Brewery

Orchard Blend Cider 6-pack $19.50

Pear Apple Cider 6-pack $19.50

Caramel Apple Cider $15.95

The Gatsby (cocoa infused) $15.95

Barley Days Brewery

County IPA $6.50

Cherry Porter $6.50

County Light 6-pack  $18.00

Sacred Mule Sparkling Ale 6-pack $18.00

Harvest Gold Pale Ale 6-pack $18.00

Wind & Sail Dark Ale 6-pack $18.00

Clafeld Cider

Smashed Hard Apple Cider 6-pack $14.95

Elderflower Cider & Wine 6-pack $22.50

Rosehip Cider & Wine 6-pack $22.50

Framboise 6-pack $22.50

County Cider Company

County Apple Cider $5.95

County Pear $6.90

County Peach $6.90

County Blood Orange $6.90

County Feral $6.90

Tortured Path $7.95

Waupoos Premium 4-pack $13.55

And new to County in the Capital this year….

Kinsip House of Fine Spirits

Still’s Whisper Vodka $39.95

Juniper’s Wit Gin $39.95

Duck Island Rum $63.95

Du Bois Maple Whisky $35.95

Crimson Rye $68.95

 

 

 To top it all off, these cool creations will also be featured:

Cheesemakers…

5th Town Artisan Cheese

La Fromagerie Folie Bergeres

 

Gourmet Artisans…

Abeego

County Posters

Emerson Pringle Carpentry

Prince Edward County Hot Sauce Company

 

Travel & Tourism…

Prince Edward County Tourism

 

Mark our words, County in the Capital is ALWAYS a fun night out…and you will get lots of tips on places to visit when you head down to The County.  Here’s our top 101 to do in PEC tips to get you started!

 

 

 

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I’ve gone to cheese heaven!

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017
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We are in love!  In love with Canadian cheese that is!  We’re thrilled to highlight Fromagerie Nouvelle France from Racine, Quebec in this month’s Savvy Cool Curds.  The hardworking, passionate sister brother team of Marie-Chantal and Jean-Paul Houde make spectacular raw and pasteurized sheep milk cheeses, winning over 20 awards since their first cheese, Zacharie Cloutier was born, including top honours for Best Cheese in Quebec, twice.

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… Very special and hard-to-find artisan cheeses including:

La Madelaine 150g
Frechette 140g
Zacharie Cloutier 200g
Zacharie Cloutier 12 month 200g
Le Pionnier 200

 


Looking for more fabulous Nouvelle France Cheese?

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!).  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Cheers & Enjoy!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

Photos by Vanessa & Fromagerie Nouvelle France unless noted.

 

Introducing…

Fromagerie Nouvelle France
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

I first met Marie-Chantal Houde (left in photo) during a special cheesemaking workshop I attended at my first ever cheese conference put on by the American Cheese Society, in Montreal in 2011. It’s an action packed week of learning and tastings, and networking with cheese gurus and legends in the industry, a not to miss event for cheese professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Marie-Chantal was demonstrating the making of her special Zacharie Cloutier cheese, which at that time, was brand new on the market. I was in awe of both the science and art of cheesemaking coming to life in front of my eyes as pure milk was transformed into something even greater than itself.

We take for granted the work involved in making artisan cheese, the level of skill, effort, luck and love to make such a quality product for the enjoyment of others. PH/acidity needs to be just so, a light touch or heavy hand is needed depending on the type of cheese being made. And timing is everything. As I watched Marie-Chantal she had not only the expertise, but the intuition as well which made the whole exercise look seamless, effortless and simple, and I fell in love with cheese, again. She was approachable and fun, answering my questions with interest, later inviting me to meet more of the Quebec cheesemaking crowd, and from there I was “in” as the girl from Ontario promoting Canadian cheese.

 

Committed to Local

Fromagerie Nouvelle France, located in the tiny village of Racine, Quebec, is a brother and sister enterprise founded in 2009. It’s the tale of family joining forces, passionate about sheep farming and raw milk and excellent quality production in the making of fine cheese.  Cheesemaker Marie-Chantal studied in France, and is a sought after consultant and technical expert and industry speaker, especially in the area of raw milk cheese production.  Jean-Paul Houde is the shepherd, tending to the 250-acre family farm where the siblings were born, with his expertise in animal husbandry and taking care of the land.

Over 300 East Freisian and Lacaune ewes enjoy their summers spent out in pasture among the rolling hills with beautiful vistas as their view. They are fed dry hay, which contributes to the high quality of the milk they provide, playing a huge factor in Marie-Chantal & Jean-Paul’s mission to create the best sheep’s milk cheeses in the region. The two are committed to their region; their little shop at the town’s farmer’s market promotes complimentary artisan products made in the area. They’re full of hospitality, ready to share knowledge on a farm tour, or cheesemaking stories over a glass of wine outside at the picnic table.  Cheese is made at the Fromagerie du Presbytère facilities in Warwick (who we featured in November), not far away, with which they have a special partnership, friendship and shared passion.

 

Award-winning Reputation

Since their launch, every one of the Fromagerie Nouvelle France cheeses have been winning awards regionally at the Canadian Cheese Awards, and Caseus, Quebec Cheese Awards for best cheese, best soft cheese, best raw milk cheese, best in show, in North America at the American Cheese Society in multiple categories, and on the world stage at the World Cheese Awards.

As you dig into your Savvy Cool Curds this month, you’ll taste the difference excellence makes and see why Fromagerie Nouvelle France has made a name for themselves as leaders in the artisan cheese industry in Canada.

Enjoy every bite!



 ~ Cheese Tasting Notes ~

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes and photos for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

 

Fréchette

Frechette is a named for a family from both sides of the Houde clan, and is like a chèvre only made with cow’s milk, lighter and more delicate than a cream cheese, making it a heavenly choice.  Another award winner for Fromagerie Nouvelle France, it took top honours in the Best Flavored Cheese category at the Canadian Cheese Awards in 2016.

Tasting Notes: This mild fresh cheese is fluffy and silky but flavourful on the palate with noticeable herb and garlic flavors.

Suggested Pairing:  The sky’s the limit with this versatile yummy cheese. Tuck dollops into phyllo triangles or purses with sautéed wild mushrooms and leeks. Quickly melt for a fast and easy veggie dip.  Spread on crostini and broil, topped with rosemary and honey.

 

 

La Madelaine

La Madelaine, another tribute to Marie-Chantal’s ancestry and heritage, is a crowd-pleasing favourite, consider it one of those little luxuries of life.  Soft, oozy and sinful, it’s perfectly ripe for to enjoy right now. 

Tasting Notes: La Madelaine is a soft, surface ripened sheep milk cheese with a dewy, delicate bloomy rind. Inside a runny pearly colored paste bursts with flavor of sweet grass, dry hay, and sweet milk, with light mushroomy aromas.

Suggested Pairing: Enjoy with Ontario Organized Crime Pinot Gris or a Quebec Sparkling Ice Cider. Pair with fermented berry fruit flavors, cassis, sour cherry or cranberry or a local hot red pepper jelly for a complimentary zing. 

 

 

Zacharie Cloutier

Fromagerie Nouvelle France’s signature cheese, Zacharie Cloutier, is a raw sheep’s milk cheese, named for an ancestor who came to Canada from France in 1634.

Tasting Notes: Marie-Chantal’s love for her craft and talent transfers to her flagship cheese. Zacharie Cloutier is a 6-month semi-cooked, firm, raw sheep’s milk cheese with a very distinct exterior basket weave design attributed to a specially selected mold that gives the cheese and apricot rind its unique appearance.  Inside is a dense, meaty, bone-coloured paste that portrays a mix of complex aromas and flavors: salt, butter, hazelnut, caramel, and coconut, with a hint of ripe pineapple.

Suggested Pairing: Zacharie Cloutier is an awesome melting cheese and goes well with any stone-fruit-based jam or compote.  Pair with unoaked Chardonnay.

 

 

Zacharie Cloutier – 12 Month

This mature version of Zacharie Cloutier is a rare find out of the shop and took home third place honours at the 2015 Quebec cheese awards the first year it was launched. 

Tasting Notes:  With age it’s rind becomes a little drier and more mottled, while retaining the distinctive basket weave and the eyes (holes) are noticeably smaller due to loss of moisture. Flavors develop further into the sweeter and fruitier end of the spectrum. Small crystals are noticeable as a sign of quality.

Suggested Pairing:  Grate into anything for an extra savoury finish. Enjoy with a local Chardonnay or mildly hoppy craft beer.

 

 

Le Pionnier

I first tasted this cheese 6 years ago at the American Cheese Society conference in 2011 – “surprise” is what it was called. Pionnier (Pioneer) is what it is called now as a tribute to two of Quebec’s cutting-edge cheesemakers Marie Chantal-Houde and Jean Morin. 

Tasting Notes:  Pionnier is a 12 month 40kg firm, washed-rind, cooked, raw mixed cow and sheep’s milk cheese, a mix of Louis D’Or & Zacharie Cloutier, both award-winners in their own right. You’ll get everything in this cheese: butter, grass, brown sugar, complexity, tanginess and even fermented tropical fruit!

Suggested Pairing:  Use Pionnier as you would Parmesan.  A robust red wine, Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon will stand up to the complexity in this cheese. Experiment with Ice Cider.

 

 

~Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

With Fréchette …

Herbed Root Vegetable Cobbler

Recipe & Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens

Ingredients

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
1lb. rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried fines herbs, herbs de Provence, or Italian seasoning, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 oz. semi-soft cheese with garlic and herbs (Fréchette)
Herbed Cheese Dumplings

 

Herbed Cheese Dumplings

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. dried fine herbs, herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning, crushed
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter
¼ cup finely shredded Zacharie Cloutier cheese, 12 month
2 lightly beaten eggs
⅓ cup milk

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In an ungreased 3-quart baking dish, combine potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, onion, and garlic.

In a small bowl, combine broth, fines herbs, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables, stirring to coat. Bake, covered, about 1 hour or until vegetables are nearly tender. Carefully uncover vegetables, stir in semisoft cheese.

Drop Herbed Parmesan Dumplings into 12 mounds on top of hot vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in centers of dumplings comes out clean. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

 

Herbed Cheese Dumplings

In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, fine herbs, herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning, and salt. Using a pastry blender cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Zacharie Cloutier cheese. In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk. Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened

 

 

With La Madeleine…               

Grilled Vegetable and Cheese Panini

Recipe & Photo Credit: Yummly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Asian eggplant (cut into 8 slices, each 4 inches long, ¼” thick)
2 zucchini (small, cut lengthwise into 8 slices, ¼” thick)
1 red bell pepper (small, seeded, cut into 8 slides, each ¼” thick)
Oil
3 tbsp. spring onions
1½ tsp. herbs de Provence
Freshly ground pepper
Salt
8 slides country bread
6 Tbsp. olive tapenade
7 ½ oz. soft sheep milk cheese (La Madeleine), thinly sliced

Method

Preheat an electric Panini press according to the manufacturers instructions.

In a bowl, stir together the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and the 3 tbsp. dipping oil, the herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables on the preheated Panini press, turning once, until tender, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Brush one side of each bread slice with dipping oil. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface. Spread each of 4 slices with 1 ½ tbsp. tapenade. Top with 2 slices of each vegetable. Arrange the cheese on top, dividing evenly. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices, oiled side up.

Place the sandwiches on the preheated Panini press and cook according to the manufacturers instructions until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately.

 

 

With Zacharie Cloutier…

Cheddar, Leek & Mushroom Focaccia

Recipe & Photo Credit: Zeste.tv
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8hr 10 minutes

Ingredients

3.5 lbs. of Quebec lamb leg or shoulder
Olive oil
8 slices of multigrain organic bread
Butter
Old-style mustard
Mayonnaise
6 oz. of Zacharie Cloutier cheese
Fresh basil pesto

Method

Salt and pepper the leg of lamb. Cook over medium-high heat in a frying pan in olive oil, until it turns into a beautiful golden color. Transfer to slow cooker and bake for 8 hours at low heat.

Slice the leg and keep more or less 175 g. Butter each slice of bread and spread it on the inside with a bit of old-fashioned mustard on one side and mayonnaise on the other.

Add one slice of cheese. Top with shredded lamb and basil pesto.

Place the two slices in a skillet heated on medium heat, with a little olive oil. Cook until golden and fold together. 

  

 

With Zacharie Cloutier 12 month…

Beef Tartare

Recipe & Photo Credit: Curieux Begin TeleQuebec
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb. of beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 French shallots, finely chopped
½ tsp. green olives, pitted and chopped
1 small garlic clove, pressed (or finely chopped)
¾ tsp. diced Zacharie Cloutier – 12 month
Tabasco (to taste)
¼ tsp. celery leaves, chopped
10 chives, chopped
1 handful of parsley, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method

Place beef, shallots, olives, garlic and cheese in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Add the herbs and the Tabasco salt and pepper and mix well, coating with oil to obtain a soft texture.

Serve immediately on grilled baguette croutons.

 

 

With Le Pionnier…

Cheese Fondue

Recipe & Photo Credit: Wikibouffe
Or enjoy Vanessa’s instructions found here and use Nouvelle France cheeses.
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients

175 g Zacharie Cloutier cheese
175 g of Louis D’Or cheese (substitute Pionnier)
175 ml of dry white wine, lager or dry apple cider
2 tsp. white flour
2 tsp. garlic clove
To taste pepper and nutmeg

Method

Cheese preparation: Zacharie Cloutier and Louis D’or (Pionnier) Cut the rind off the cheese and grate. Add the white flour to the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Add the wine or beer to the pot. Heat until the mixture is simmering. Add the garlic clove to the pot. Add the cheese gradually and stir continuously. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Stir until smooth and smooth and serve with crusty bread and blanched vegetables.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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Fall in Love with these Okanagan wines & cheese

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
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I can’t get enough! I’m in the south Okanagan again, remembering why I fell in love with its unique landscape, the changing hues of the fruit trees and the vineyards, the outstanding wines created by established growers and newcomers. On this trip, I discovered new places that I wanted to share with you…

Upper Bench Winery & Creamery

Four years ago, I headed up to the Naramata Bench to check out a couple of new wineries, including Upper Bench. At the time, they had just opened, many of their wines were sold out, and there was a limited selection of their delectable cheeses. But what I tasted was very good and I decided to stop in this year on my way from Kelowna to Osoyoos.

As luck would have it, Shana, the ‘Big Cheese’ – half of the duo responsible for this small family-owned winery (husband Gavin Miller is the winemaker) – was in the tasting room. So, we were treated to her expertise and enthusiasm as we tasted three of their unique cheeses, along with several wines.

I make no claim to any cheese expertise like our cheese Sommelier Vanessa, mark my words, the Brie seemed wonderfully creamy to me, with a lovely soft yet textured rind. The Gold offered a firmer texture, a golden washed rind and a slightly nutty flavor. The Grey Baby, named for her cat, had a lovely bloomy grey rind, almost no typical blue cheese veining but an absolutely melt-in-my -mouth texture and delicate flavours. Yes, I found cheese heaven!

The U&Brie was paired with their 2015 dry Riesling – they’re already into the 2015 wines due the fast pace of sales. Light-mid weight, the nose is floral and fruity with underlying mineral notes, the palate crisp and bright offering flavours of orchard fruit and lemon zest, the finish tart and tangy yet fruity.

The 2015 Chardonnay continues to be made with an emphasis on purity of fruit, half the wine aged only 3 months in French oak, the balance in stainless, so that the delicate notes of spice and warm pastry garnish the aromas and flavours of tropical fruit, melon and juicy pear, while a hint of pithy grapefruit adds tang to the creamy finish. It provided a great pairing with the Oka-like Gold cheese.

The Grey Baby cheese was a perfect complement for the 2014 Pinot Noir red wine – an elegant, silky wine with lifted floral notes, bright red fruit and hints of earth and spice. Medium bodied, it’s intensely flavourful, subtly structured, the flavours of ripe red fruit interwoven with delicate notes of spice and mineral.

The Yard Wine is a signature wine, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend of co-fermented Merlot and Cabernets (mainly Franc) that’s medium-full bodied, full of aromas and flavours of sweet black and red fruits, hints of chocolate-coated caramel and spice as well as complementary undertones of tomato leaf and earth. Underpinned with ripe tannins and fresh acidity, it’s a very approachable, gulpable wine!

While the small production of Upper Bench wines means that they won’t be found in the LCBO, you can always join their wine and cheese clubs.

 

Painted Rock Winery

Another sunny day found us winding our way along the east side of Skaha Lake from OK Falls toward Penticton. We made our way up the bench to Painted Rock, where we once again struck gold, as proprietor John Skinner was at the tasting bar.

John worked in the financial industry in Vancouver for many years, all the while developing his fascination with fine wines and the wine industry. In 2004, he and his wife Trish purchased a former fruit orchard on the bench that had lain fallow for almost 2 decades. About 25 acres were planted to a variety of vitis vinifera clones in 2005 and 2006. As a result of his interaction with the nursery from which he sourced his clones, John was contacted by wine consultant Alain Sutre (who also consults with Don Triggs’ Culmina estate winery), who continues to work with Painted Rock to this day. As an example of the valuable input he provides, during the extremely hot 2015 vintage, Alain counselled John and his team to allow the vine canopy to grow to ensure shading of the grapes from the sun and to prevent scorching. This allowed for a longer hang time, good maturation of the fruit and retention of acidity.

John’s commitment to premium winemaking and his delight in his property and the local trails was evident as he interspersed our tasting with anecdotes of the recent vintages and photos of local pictographs he has found on the granite outcroppings.

The 2015 Rosé wine is a Saignée, an assemblage of his red grapes, including Merlot, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francs, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah. A lovely salmon hue, it shows some residual sugar and warmth from the hot vintage, aromas and flavours of strawberry/rhubarb compote, dried cherry and dried herbs, and a lovely silky, fruity finish.

The 2013 Merlot, aged 18 months in a combination of new and second fill French oak, is dry, full bodied red wine with tangy, showing rich lifted aromas and flavours of black cherry, plum and raspberry, warm sweet spice and hints of menthol and herbs, underpinned by ripe tannins and a fresh texture.

The 2014 Cabernet Franc was a particular favorite, seducing with its lifted floral notes of red rose and violet, the sweet hints of baking spice, cocoa and plummy fruit, and a subtle whiff of graphite. Dry and firmly structured, it’s loaded with flavours of black currant garnished with notes of herbs and cracked pepper. Finishing long and dry, this red wine shows great cellaring potential.

Once again, none of these wines are on the LCBO website, but John also offers a wine club.

Nk’Mip Winery

Nestled on a bench just above Lake Osoyoos, the Nk’Mip Cellars is as much a part of the land as its owner/operators, the Osoyoos Indian Band. In a partnership with the then-Canadian wine conglomerate, Vincor, the band established the first indigenous-owned winery, and winemaker Randy Picton was engaged in 2002, just in time for the first harvest.

Located on a small campus that includes the Desert Cultural Centre, the Sonora Dunes Golf Course and Spirit Ridge Resort (where I stayed), it was inevitable that I would wander over to Nk’Mip to see how the 2016 harvest was progressing (slowly due to a very cool fall and an early killing frost) and to taste a few wines from recent vintages. It felt like a celebration to be there, as Nk’Mip has recently been named 2016 Winery of the Year, having been in the top 10 in the last four years, and the recent purchase of Constellation Brands Canadian wine properties (including its investment in Nk’Mip) by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund means that the winery is now fully in Canadian hands once again.

The view from the winery is idyllic, rows of golden-leaved vines marching down the sloping vineyard to Lake Osoyoos, the small resort town of Osoyoos rising from the lake to a backdrop of rugged Sonoran desert mountainscapes.

Randy has honed his craft so that no matter the level of wines tasted, you can expect deftly crafted high quality wines made to his exacting standards. To quote Randy, “My approach is to focus on every detail in the vineyard in order to bring the best possible grapes to the winery. The vineyard is expressed in the bottle.” He’s assisted in the winery by Justin Hall, an Osoyoos Indian Band member who has studied viticulture and oenology in Canada, as well as New Zealand, and worked in the industry in Australia as well as at Nk’Mip.
You see his experience in cool climate winemaking in the vibrant, fresh 2015 Pinot Blanc, a great value white wine that offers subtle aromatics of citrus and orchard fruit, with a clean, crisp flavours of lemon, pithy grapefruit mineral through a zesty finish.

The 2013 Merlot is an easy-going crowd pleaser, a dry mid-weight red wine aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak, offering flavours of cherry and plum, herbs, spice and cocoa through a nice lively finish.

The 2014 Syrah from the signature QwAm QwMt tier is produced from estate fruit, the wine aged 18 months in French oak. It’s a complex, full bodied deep purple wine with layers of flavours–dark berry fruits, exotic spice, Okanagan sage, cracked pepper with notes of dark chocolate and coffee bean wrapped in a firm structure. It’s a great value and worthy of cellaring.

The Nk’Mip Qw’Am Qw’Mt Chardonnay 2013 is listed on the LCBO website (#391813), and for other wines you can always contact the winery about their wine club.

 

There you go…3 more reasons to pack your bags and head to British Columbia wine region!

 

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Happy Birthday to Savvy Cool Curds!

Posted by Vanessa

Monday, January 30th, 2017
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Happy Birthday to us!  January 2017 marks the first anniversary of Savvy Cool Curds, the only cheese-of-the-month club in the country dedicated to featuring hard-to-come-by lovingly handcrafted Canadian artisan and farmstead cheeses.  From all of us at Savvy Company, we’d like to send a special shout out to the hardworking Canadian cheesemakers who we proudly showcase each month in our Curd on the Street Magazine. And to you, Canadian cheese lover, we send an extra big thanks for supporting local and choosing #CdnCheese.

It doesn’t get more local than our profile this month of Empire Cheese Co-op, one of the regions oldest producers in the heart of Northumberland County, in the business of making delicious cheddars, butter and specialty cheeses for over a century.

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… very special and hard-to-find artisan cheeses including:

Hot Whiskey Mustard Cheddar 230g
Extra Old White Cheddar 230g
Supreme 3 Year Old Orange Cheddar 230g
Supreme 5 Year Old White Cheddar 230g

Looking for more excellent Empire Cheese?

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!).  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

PS – All photos in this issue of Curd on the Street Magazine are taken by Vanessa unless noted.

 

Introducing…

Empire Cheddar & Butter Co-op
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Empire Cheese Co-op located in Campbellford Ontario, represents over 135 years of Canadian cheesemaking traditions. More than a century ago, the first cheese factory was built (in 1870) on the farmland of the original cheesemaker. Today, good old-fashioned cheesemaking continues, as current cheesemaker Mark Erwin carries the torch for Empire Cheese.  Mark is what you’d call a veteran, having made cheese for over 30 years of his career. There’s an exactness to his cheesemaking process which allows for consistency in the quality and flavour of the cheese.  “It’s the skill and know how that make the difference” Mark explains.

The co-op business model remains to this day with less than a dozen local dairy farmers and their families as owners (down from the original forty-four families ages ago).  A board of directors is elected every year to run the operation.

Cheese is made traditionally  – by hand, following old school methods – in open vats using 100% all natural Canadian cow milk from local farmers, ensuring high quality. Fat (aka fresh cream) is kept in the milk and not separated, which contributes to the extra creamy texture of their cheddars. There are no extra additives or artificial flavors in these cheeses.  This is perhaps one of the reasons or secrets to why Empire Cheese is well known for their award winning products, particularly at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

A Local Following

Empire Cheese have a huge following, committed to shopping local at their factory outlet store. There is something for everyone. Die-hard fans visit religiously for fresh curds, made daily which come in white, orange and flavored (garlic) varieties. Various other cheeses can be found on hand, with cheddars ranging from mild (fresh to 3 months of age), medium, old, extra old with the oldest topping 10 years. The fridge is also packed with mozzarella, Swiss, and experimental flavored cheeses are plentiful such as smoked and beer infused cheddar. Keep in mind that if you need a unique fundraising idea Empire can set you up with your own cheese.

The Difference Quality Makes

Cheddar is made in the wee hours of the morning and follows a particular process and recipe, which is specific to this type/variety of cheese that can be classified as semi-soft to semi-firm to firm depending on the age and maker. Once the curd is set it’s cut to encourage drainage of the whey and then arranged/piled/packed by hand into long sheets, which are then hand cut into blocks and stacked and flipped to promote further draining, where the curds mat or knit together. This process is called “Cheddaring”.  Large strips are then cut and milled (cut into small pieces, which are the small strips or pieces of fresh curds one sees on poutine as a topping or sold in bags at the cheesemaker for immediate consumption, note the squeak). Milled curds are then formed into 40lb blocks, vacuum packed and sealed to sit and age on a shelf until ready for cutting and repacking for sale at a variety of ages.

Quality cheddars have very particular characteristics: closed and dense texture with no pinholes, smooth to crumbly but slight veining of curds when broken (not rubbery); uniform in color, not mottled; clean milky flavors through and through, not overly fruity, noticeable sharpness with age. Seem what I mean when you look at the cheddars in your Savvy Cool Curds.

A variety of cheddars are in your Savvy Cool Curds assortment this month. Grab a few friends, some local brews and conduct your own vertical tasting, comparing each of the Empire cheddars we’ve selected.

 

Cheese Tasting Notes

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes and photos for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

Hot Whiskey Mustard Cheddar

Empire’s Hot Whiskey Mustard is one of the most unique flavoured cheddars I’ve encountered over the years.  One of the secrets to an excellent flavored cheese is to start with a tasty and well-made cheese as a base (too often flavors are added to mask cheese that isn’t great). The cheddar is aged for one year, and has Mrs. McGarrigle’s (Merrickville) Hot Whiskey Mustard mixed in.  It’s a total local experience, a-three “whey” collaboration with the cheese, mustard, and even the whiskey (Forty Creek Whisky, Grimsby) used in the mustard all produced in Ontario.

Tasting Notes: This cheddar has a fudge-like texture and is dense to the tooth. Enjoy milky flavor with a hint of mustard, apricot fruit and spice, which elevates the cheese, while not overpowering. The cheese’s age adds a bit of “bite” to stand up to the mustard and balance out the two.

Suggested Pairing:  Hot Whiskey Mustard Cheddar screams to be melted with Seed to Sausage house cured ham or Pastrami on crusty bread. Add grilled tomatoes, arugula as garnish. Melt for a quick and easy sauce to slather over roasted cauliflower.

Extra Old White Cheddar

Empire’s award winning Extra Old Cheddar took first place at the Royal Winter Fair in 2013. In Canada, a cheese is extra old if it’s over 12 months; in this case this white cheddar is aged naturally for two years.

Tasting Notes: Empire’s Extra Old 2 year cheddar is smooth on the palate and has chewy texture, with mild fruity aroma. Enjoyable flavors of cooked milk with toasty notes are prominent up front, as expected in a quality aged cheddar, with a lingering tangy finish.

Suggested Pairing: Use as a versatile staple in your kitchen, grated on Mac n Cheese, sliced as a snack, crumbled onto fruity desserts as a garnish. Pairs easily with a medium bodied red wine – local Merlot or Gamay.

3 Year Supreme Cheddar

Empire Supreme 3 Year Cheddar, is aged naturally for that amount of time, in aging rooms onsite. Cheesemaker Mark Erwin has referenced this as a great point of satisfaction of his trade, being able to see the fruit of one’s labour over time. Supreme 3 Year is either white or orange cheddar, where the orange hue color typically comes from annatto, a flavourless seed. Try white or coloured (orange) cheddars of the same age and maker, and there will be no difference in taste, it’s an interesting experiment.

Tasting Notes: This cheddar is bright pumpkin orange and within the smooth, creamy body, you can see outline of the curds that have been fused together over time. Flavors are clean, milk and toasted nut, with a little bite, classic cheddar tang and gentle fruity aroma.

Suggested Pairing: Everything about this cheddar says I’m a potato’s best friend, grated into smashed potatoes or on roasted sweet potatoes, or melted into hash browns, or mixed with cracked black pepper into potatoes to form the savory center of homemade pierogies.

5 Year Supreme Cheddar

Empire Supreme 5 Year Cheddar is what I’d consider as one of life’s little luxuries and worth the wait as it develops it’s unique flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:  This cheese is aged naturally for 5 years and has a drier and more crumbly texture than its younger sister cheeses. Tiny little white Tyrocene (flavour) crystals are apparent in the pale straw-coloured paste, an indication of quality cheddar.

Enjoy a robust milky flavor, fruity tang, and sharp bite followed by a mellow caramelized finish.

Suggested Pairing:  Grate on hearty savoury winter soups as garnish. Chunk as a snack as a little pick me up during an outdoor ski or activity break. Broil over toast with caramelized onion & sautéed buttery mushrooms.

• Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses •

With Hot Whiskey Mustard Cheddar …

Hot Whiskey Mustard Cheddar Lamb Burger

Recipe & Photo Credit: DairyGoodness.ca
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 2/3 lb. ground lamb
2 – 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 oz. Hot Whiskey Mustard Cheddar, sliced
4 hamburger buns
1 small red onion, sliced
2 cups kale sprouts

Method

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

In a bowl, mix lamb, garlic and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into patties. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15–20 min, depending on thickness of the patties.

Top patties with cheese and heat buns.

Place patties on bottom buns, add onions and kale sprouts, cover with top buns and serve.

 

With Extra Old Cheddar…                     

Cream of Celeriac With Cheddar & Onion Soup

Recipe & Photo Credit: Dairygoodness.ca

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. (15 mL) butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups (1.5 L) celeriac, peeled and diced
3 cups (750 mL) chicken or vegetable broth, no salt added
1 cup (250 mL) milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 slices of baguette
4 oz. (120 g) Empire Extra Old Cheddar, grated

Method

In a large saucepan, melt butter and cook onions for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, or until browned. Set half the onions aside.

Add garlic and celeriac to saucepan and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Puree using a hand or upright blender.

Preheat oven to broil. Place bread slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with cheese. Broil until cheese is melted.

Pour soup into bowls and add bread slices, top with reserved onions and serve.

 

With Supreme 3 Year Cheddar…

Cheddar, Leek & Mushroom Focaccia

Recipe & Photo Credit: Dairygoodness.ca

Prep Time:  60 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients

1 homemade milk pizza dough or 1 package (19 oz.) store-bought pizza dough
1 Tbsp. butter
2 leeks cut into ½˝ lengths
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. dried wild mushrooms (chanterelle, cep, shiitake, etc.)
7 oz. Empire Supreme 3 Year Cheddar, grated

Milk pizza dough:

1-cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast (quick-rising)

Method

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut parchment paper to fit a 9˝ x 12˝ baking sheet. Using a rolling pin roll out pizza dough on the parchment paper. Transfer to baking sheet and let rise for 30–45 minutes.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat and cook leeks and mushrooms for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a mini food processor, grind dried mushrooms until fine and powdery.

Sprinkle pizza dough with a quarter of grated cheese, add leek and mushroom mixture and top with remaining cheese and dried mushroom powder. Cook on top rack of the oven for 12 minutes.

Milk pizza dough

In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add butter and let melt.

In a bowl, mix flour with sugar, salt and yeast. Pour in warm milk and butter; stir with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes.

Shape dough as needed and let rise for 30–45 minutes.

 

With Supreme 5 Year Cheddar…

Welsh Rarebit

Recipe & Photo Credit: Sue Riedl – Cheese and Toast
TIP: Sue has an excellent step by step walk through on her site!

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup Guinness beer
¾ cup cream  (less for a thicker sauce)
1 ½ cups shredded cheese (sub. Supreme 5-Year Cheddar)
Salt  (adjust to taste, some cheeses are saltier than others)
Fresh ground pepper
8 slices toasted sourdough or rye

Method

In a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter until foaming subsides. Add the flour and whisk it in until you form a smooth past (a roux).  You do not want the roux to brown at all.

Take the roux off the burner and cool slightly (so will not splatter) when you add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Whisk until smooth and then back on medium-low heat add the beer.

Now add the cream and whisk until the sauce thickens, this will take a couple minutes.  You don’t want this to boil, if it does just lower the heat.

Pull the sauce off the heat and slowly add the cheese.  It should melt easily, (if you need to you can throw the sauce back on the heat for a minute as you stir).  Set aside, keep warm. Season to taste.

Turn on your broiler or preheat the oven to 500°F (260° C). Toast the bread until crisp (to avoid sogginess once cheese is added). Put the bread on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Pour the sauce over each piece.  Broil until browning slightly (1-2 minutes). Allow to cool slightly -so it can be handled- and serve to salivating dinner companions.

Don’t forget to drink the remaining beer 😉


Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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Cheesin’s Greetings!

Posted by Vanessa

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
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Celebrating with Canadian cheese is one of the simplest ways I know to entertain during hectic holidays. Cheese is low maintenance and requires no time or fuss to prepare. It always presents well, but best of all, when chosen with care, is guaranteed to be the highlight of party conversations and special memories for years to come.  This month’s holiday issue of Savvy Cool Curds spotlights a selection of cheeses for easy entertaining.

2016 was another busy year for Canadian cheesemakers. With more events, competitions and awards, producers and tasty cheeses on the scene than ever, deciding on only a few will be the hardest chore you’ll have on your “to do” list.  Read on for holiday tips with Canadian Cheese and last minute gift ideas!

In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

…very special and hard-to-find artisan cheeses including:

Apprenti Sorcier 200g
Homecoming 200g
Milkhouse Tomme 200g
Muskoka Bliss 200g
Christmas Cheese Ball 200g


Looking for more awesome Canadian cheese for holiday entertaining?

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds? Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available that is!).  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Vanessa & the Savvy Team

  

Cheesin’s Greetings
by Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier

Entertaining with Canadian artisan cheese is the easiest whey to add a cheesy element to your holiday plans this festive season. Give cheese as a hostess gift or for that hard to buy for name on your list, introduce a cheese course to your holiday meal either as a stunning appetizer to kick things off or as a lazy finish, or pull together a quick wine & cheese tasting as a cocktail party substitute.  Here are some of my quick tips:

Top Tips for Entertaining

1) Think of your audience

Who are you entertaining and for how long?  Will a meal or other snacks be served? When in doubt choose small soft wheels of cheese (buy a few to have on hand, they make wonderful hostess gifts too).

2) Be a Savvy shopper

Buy from a reputable cheese shop as close as possible to your celebration. Ask for a fresh cut wedge. In Ottawa, look for artisan cheeses at Serious Cheese, The Piggy Market, Thyme & Again, The Red Apron, Jacobson’s Gourmet Concepts, the Ottawa Bagelshop and throughout Ontario at fine grocery stores such as Farm Boy.

2) Mix & mingle

Consider taste, style and texture or region, milk type (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo) or category  (fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard, blue).  3 to 5 cheeses display well on a board or serve one stellar cheese as an appetizer or dessert. Buying cheeses that look different offers visual appeal.  5-10gms/cheese/person is a good rule of thumb.

3) Serve with star treatment

Serve at room temperature.  Offer one knife per cheese. Don’t cut up small pieces in advance.  Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal.  Keep it simple so the cheese will shine.

4) Compliment your cheese

Serve specialty breads, gourmet crackers, fresh seasonal or dried fruits, figs, dates, raw or toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments.

5) Add wine or craft beer

In general beers and white wines pair best and more often with a wider variety of cheeses. Remember balance is key. For help on selecting wines & craft beers give our experts a call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

6) Talk it up

What do you see, smell and taste?  Share your experience. Compare notes.  Conversations around the cheese board create lasting memories of your event.  Cheese has evolved from being solely an ingredient to the focal point of a party, as it’s the perfect food to bring people together.

7) Take time to enjoy every nibble

Slow down and savor each morsel.  The holidays are a special time of year to make merry with friends, family (and cheese!).  Take a break from hosting to enjoy yourself and the company of your guests.

 

Cheese Tasting Notes

Below are Vanessa’s tasting notes and photos for each cheese in your Savvy Cool Curds, along with additional tidbits of interesting information, suggested food pairings & recipes to try too!

Apprenti Sorcier

Maggie Paradis of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères is the wizard behind Apprenti Sorcier (translated as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”), a soft, surface-ripened pasteurized mixed sheep and cow milk cheese sold in small wheels.

Tasting Notes: A thick, bright white bloomy rind and rich, runny, ivory paste produce wild mushroomy aromas mixed with buttery, finger-licking, salty flavours.

Suggested Pairing:  Have a loaf of crusty baguette on hand if your piece is ripe — you’ll need it to “mop up” until the cheese is all gone!  Top with chutneys, relishes, caramelized onions, cranberries, nuts, maple syrup or honey/rosemary for a quick appetizer.

Stonetown Cheese Homecoming

One of Ontario’s newest “cheeses on the scene”, Stonetown Cheese’s Homecoming is already making headlines as a finalist in the “Best New Cheese” category at the Canadian Cheese Awards and first prize at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair recently. I love the quote on their website “Life is great, cheese makes it better”. We wholeheartedly agree!

Tasting Notes: Homecoming is a semi-soft, washed rind, Swiss alpine style farmstead cheese. Made with fresh unpasteurized Holstein milk it has mild earthy flavor profile.

Suggested Pairing: Great as snacking or grilled cheese, pair with unoaked Chardonnay or Semillon.

 

Milkhouse Tomme

The hardworking team of Cait and Kyle White from Smiths Falls makes Milkhouse Tomme lovingly from their own flock of British Milk Sheep. They are proud to have full traceability from animal to market of their milk and their cheese.

Tasting Notes: Milkhouse Tomme is a beautiful, rustic raw sheep milk cheese with a natural rind styled after French Tomme de Savoie.  It’s a tasty package of richness, with a dense interior texture and herbal and grassy notes on the nose and palate.

Suggested Pairing: Great paired with Sauvignon Blanc or oaky Chardonnay and dolloped with a stone fruit (peach, apricot) preserve.

 

Muskoka Bliss

Muskoka Bliss is a seasonal cow milk cheese from Stonetown Cheese in St. Mary’s, Ontario. Gorgeous on a cheese plate for holiday entertaining. 

Tasting Notes:  Muskoka Bliss comes in an attractive package of dark eggplant colored wax. On the inside find mild, buttery milky flavors with a hint of cranberry fruit. 

Suggested Pairing:  Pair with a light red (Gamay or Pinot Noir) and fruit/nut crackers.

 

Maggie’s Cheese Ball

Maggie Paradis of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères makes these rare, seasonal cheese balls once a year. They’re a guaranteed sell out but we managed to secure some for our coveted Savvy Cool Curds subscribers.

Tasting Notes:  Maggie’s cheese ball is a combination of both local cow and goat’s milk mixed with a variety of ingredients to add zing and extra flavor such as lemon juice and scallions all rolled in crushed pecans for a gorgeous finish.

Suggested Pairing:  Enjoy on it’s own (even by yourself without sharing!) with a hearty sourdough bread or Parisian baguette.  Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon or local brew for extra enjoyment.  Or, do as I do, eat it right off the spoon – it doesn’t last long in my house!

NOTE: you may see a crease of blue on the inside of the packaging…don’t despair, this is not mould, rather it is the extra pieces of CFAI approved cellophane (aka Saran Wrap) crunched tightly into the vacuumed pack bag!

Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses

With Apprenti Sorcier…

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Recipe adapted & Photo Credit: Epicurious

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) butter
8 cups sliced onions (about 4 large)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. sugar
1 8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce Brie
2 baguettes, sliced

Method

Melt butter in heavy very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add minced thyme, reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are golden, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and sautée 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine; stir until almost all liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over onions and sauté until soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine; stir just until liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Brie and place on a shallow small round baking dish (for presentation). Cut away only top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Return to dish, rind side down. Place dish on baking sheet. Top Brie evenly with onion mixture. Bake until cheese just melts, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a platter. Surround with baguette slices.

 

 

With Stonetown cheeses…

Cheese Fondue for Two
Recipe & Photo Credit: Stonetowncheese.com

Ingredients

a loaf of French Bread
1/2 clove of garlic
160 g Grand Trunk, grated
160 g Wildwood, grated
80 g Homecoming, grated
2 tsp. cornstarch

Method

Cut French bread into 1″ cubes and set the table before you start heading the fondue.

Rub the caquelon (fondue pan) with half a clove of garlic, cut into small pieces and leave in the caquelon (fondue pan).

Mix Grand Trunk, Wildwood and Homecoming with cornstarch in caquelon (fondue pan), add wine and lemon juice.

With constant stirring, heat up until the cheese is melted and creamy. Add kirsch brandy (optional), season with pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Place the caquelon (fondue pan) over a small spirit burner to keep the fondue at boiling point.

Dip the bite size, cubed French bread into the fondue using a long handled fork.

Stir the fondue every time you dunk a piece of break so the fondue does not burn to the bottom of the caquelon (fondue pan).

 

With Milkhouse Tomme…

Tartiflette
Recipe & Photo Credit: Laura Robin – The Ottawa Citizen

Ingredients

6 medium potatoes
2 large red onions
2 to 4 cloves garlic
Dash olive oil
½ lb. bacon or pancetta
Dash Sherry or white wine (optional)
5 to 8 oz. Milkhouse Tomme, cut into small cubes
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 cup 18% (half-and-half or light) cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Slice potatoes 1/4-inch (1-cm thick) and cook in boiling, salted water about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, set aside.

Slice the red onions 1/4-inch (1-cm) thick, lengthwise, from the root to the tip, and fry with chopped garlic and a dash of olive oil over medium heat until soft.

Roughly chop bacon or pancetta and add to pan with onions and garlic. Add a dash of sherry or white wine and scrape to deglaze pan. Simmer until bacon is cooked and onions are caramelized.

Layer half the sliced potatoes in a buttered 9-by-13-inch (23-by-35-cm) glass baking dish. Sprinkle half of the bacon-and-onion mixture over. Repeat both layers. Sprinkle cubed Tomme on top.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, mix, and cook briefly, then gradually stir in milk and cream. Cook, stirring, until mixtures thickens and almost boils. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over potatoes and cheese in dish.

Bake uncovered on the middle rack of oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is puffy and slightly golden and sauce is bubbling.

 

With Muskoka Bliss…

Brie, Cranberry and Pancetta Phyllo Bites
Recipe & Photo Credit: Popsugar.com

Ingredients

Coconut oil spray
1/2 pound pancetta, finely diced
1 roll of phyllo sheets, defrosted
1-pint cranberries
1/4-cup water
1/3-cup sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
5 ounces brie (substitute Muskoka Bliss)

Method

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease three mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Cook pancetta until crisp.

Place one piece of phyllo dough on a flat surface. Spray with coconut oil. Place another sheet on top; repeat four more times for a total of six sheets. Spray top piece of dough with coconut oil. Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 3-inch squares. Tuck into mini muffin tins. Repeat two more times until you have 36 shells.

Bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Reduce heat in oven down to 300°F.

For the cranberries: Place cranberries, water, sugar and pinch of cayenne in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the berries are reduced, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Divide cheese into 36 even pieces. Place in bottom of each shell. Top with a little bit of cranberry sauce. Pop into the oven for five minutes or until cheese has melted.

Sprinkle with crispy pancetta.

 

Last Minute Cheese-y Gifts…

With only a few sleeps until Christmas, here are some easy ways to take care of those last minute presents for the “nice” cheese lovers on your list dreaming of a cheesey Christmas!

Personal-sized Raclette or fondue for two

A gift card from a local cheese monger or fine food shop

A selection of hand crafted jams, chutneys, jellies, preserves or charcuterie

A chunk of natural honeycomb to enjoy with Canadian cheese

Canadian Cheese A Guide by Kathy Guidi

A subscription to Savvy Cool Curdsof course!

A gift certificate to a Savvy Event to discover craft beers, artisan wines and Canadian cheese

Tickets to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Picton, June 3 & 4th, 2017, Canada’s biggest cheese show

A set of cheese knives

A handmade cutting board or live edge boards for serving

A Cheese Sommelier hosted in-home cheese tasting experience – call us on 613-SAVVYCO to get started!

A “cheesemaker for a day” experience at a local producer

A cheese journal to track tasting notes and favourites

Cheese paper for storing Canadian cheese

Local craft beer, artisan wine to go with cheese

 

Enjoy your Savvy Cool Curds!

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